Politics - News Analysis

[UPDATED] People Think Trump Staged This Situation Room Photo Because Trump Was Actually Golfing When Raid Happened


Politifact has since said there is “no evidence” the photo was staged.

This article didn’t assert the photo was staged…rather, we took to social media and reported on those who felt it was staged and why.

The chief official White House photographer for former Presidents Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama suggested the Trump administration staged Saturday’s stern-faced Situation Room picture in the wake of a U.S. military raid that resulted in the death of a major ISIS figurehead.

Pete Souza, the former director of the White House Photography Office, called the timestamp of the Situation Room picture into question Sunday morning.

Souza inferred that it’s very unlikely Donald Trump, Mike Pence and several top administration officials and generals were actively monitoring the raid on ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s compound when the photograph was taken Saturday in Washington.

Souza took the famous photograph of Obama and a shocked then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton intently watching the Seal Team 6 raid on the Abbottabad compound that killed al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden in 2011.

“The raid, as reported, took place at 3:30PM Washington time. The photo, as shown in the camera IPTC data, was taken at ’17:05:24,'” Souza remarked on Twitter Sunday. He was replying to a tweet from White House Director of Social Media and Assistant to the President, Dan Scavino Jr.

And where was Trump when the raid was going down? On the golf course at his club in Sterling, Virginia.

The al-Baghdadi Situation Room photo Saturday showed Trump; Pence; National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien; Secretary of Defense Mark Esper; Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff U.S. Army General Mark A. Milley; and Brig. Gen. Marcus Evans, Deputy Director for Special Operations on the Joint Staff. All six men are shown in stiff, postured stances, giving squinted glares toward the camera.

The Trump photo is far more symmetrical and organized than the Obama White House Situation Room picture taken during the bin Laden compound raid in 2011. Clinton can be seen holding her mouth in shock and Defense Secretary Robert Gates crossing his arms in front of a jumble of administration officials and generals stand behind them.

Twitter quickly caught on:


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